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Routes in 32 - Elephant Rock

Bucket Brigade S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Crack of Despair T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Crack of Doom T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Crack of Redemption T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Crashline T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Elephant Talk S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Elephantiasis T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Fatal Mistake T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Fun Terminal S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hairline T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Hocus Pocus S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Hotline T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hundredth Monkey, The S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Left Guru Crack T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Lost Error T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Moongerms T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Pink Dream T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pink Elephant T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Plumb Line T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Real Error T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Reality Check T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Right Guru Crack T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sky T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Straight Error T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Trundling Juan T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wicked Gravity S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Worst Error, Left T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Worst Error, Right T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, 500 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Ray Jardine and Linda McGinnis (Oct '76)
Page Views: 469 total, 7/month
Shared By: Bryan G on Oct 23, 2012
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details


Reality Check is a climb I was really looking forward to. It’s got a star in the Reid Guide, and most of the other starred routes I’ve done at Elephant Rock have been exceptional. Reality Check is exceptionally dirty, but that's about it. It’s got 500 ft of the most lichen encrusted rock you’ll find anywhere, crack systems choked with brush and moss, and some rotten rock on the final pitch to top it all off. It has a few redeeming qualities, but only a few. It follows a relatively steep and super obvious line that is protected without any fixed gear. The crux dihedral on the second pitch will be quite excellent if it is ever cleaned up (unlikely). And you will absolutely, 100% for sure, not ever have to wait behind or even see another party on the route.

On the Northeast side of Elephant Rock is a major cleft formed by Reality Check (on the left) and Plumb Line (on the right). These routes, and the others on the left side which climb from base to summit, are best approached from above regardless of the water levels in the Merced. Approaching from below is a bit of a slog, and requires a lengthy descent unless you leave a second vehicle on Hwy 41. There are two different ways to approach this climb which I will describe in detail here so that I can reference them in other route descriptions:

Elephants Graveyard Descent

This is a mostly class 2 hike which will fill your shoes with dirt. It is used to approach climbs on the Elephants Graveyard, but can also serve as a Elephant Rock approach for rugged individuals who think rapping in is too easy. Watch out for poison oak in the spring.

Park at a banked dirt turnout just past the Rostrum parking. As you follow the well-established trail to the summit, you want to turn right on a faint trail shortly before Elephant Rock comes into view. This trail heads east, skirting the rim, and becomes increasingly faint as you go. To the east of Elephant Rock is a large forested “bowl” which is lined with cliffs along the top (including the Elephant’s Graveyard). Your goal is to descend at the south-east corner of this bowl via a boulder-filled gully marked with a few cairns. This section is class 2/3 but if you are ever facing serious exposure then you are off route. Once in the forest, glissade down steep and loose dirt in the general direction of Elephant Rock. When you reach an open gully, start traversing more directly towards the base of your route.

Northeast Face Fixed Line Rappel

Begin by walking to the top of Elephant Rock. On the northeast side of the formation, and directly above the Guru Cracks is a bolted anchor located near the edge of the cliff. By tying two ropes together and fixing them to the anchor, it is possible rappel 350 feet straight into the forest below. This can drop you right at the base of Crack of Redemption or Reality Check, while Plumb Line is less than a 2 min walk downhill. After you finish your climb and top out, simply walk back over to the anchor and pull your ropes back up. This approach can even be made less committing by bringing jumars and ascenders with you and leaving them in a pack tied off to the bottom of the rope. If you bail off your climb, jug back out. If you summit, just haul up your gear with the ropes.

This approach of course requires three ropes (two to fix, and one to lead back up with). It will also be necessary to safely pass the knot. The knot will most likely be located on the lower angle slab a ways down so that makes things easier. But overall, this is the fastest and least painful way to approach any of the multipitch routes on the Northeast Face, and means that you probably won't even have to carry approach shoes on the climb.

The final approach for Reality Check is up loose and dirty class 3 ledges, directly below the triangular “cleft”.

Pitch 1. Start by mantling onto a slab and then walk up to a left-facing corner. Getting established in the corner is tricky (5.9) and has some loose rock. My follower trundled the worst of it, so it should be less dangerous now. The dirty corner leads up to a roof split by a thin-hand crack. This crux (5.9-10b, had size dependent) is both well protected and some of the cleanest jamming on the route. A low angle fist crack is then followed to a belay ledge/crevice. 100ft.

Pitch 2. A short off-width leads to a roof. Here you will find a horn made of orange rock which you hang on to reach out past a shrub to place your first good piece under the roof. From here you pull on gear to get out to the arête, or the roof might go free at 5.10/5.11 with some serious gardening. Above the roof is a vertical left-facing corner that varies from fingers to hands. It is 5.10+ in its current vegetated state, but will get easier with more ascents. A small alcove offers a cramped belay (big cams for anchor) or you can keep link this with pitch 3 if you extended your gear below the roof. 120 ft.

Pitch 3. Chimney out of the pod into brief handjams before the crack widens again. A crux here requires passing a mound of dirt and munge which fills the off-width crack. I stemmed past the munge and then placed a #6 above and used it to French-free out of the stem and back into the offwidth. An easier chimney leads to a ledge with 2 old bolts. Be mindful of loose rocks at the top of the chimney and on the ledge. 80 ft.

Pitch 4. A final long pitch is made up the ugly gully and chimney system to the summit. Straightforward with and comparatively easy (5.8). 190 ft.

To descend (the best part of the climb), make a 5 minute walk along a good trail up the hillside and back to your car.


Pro to 4.5" with extra stuff from 1-1.5". The only time the #6 was really useful was for doing a move of C1 on pitch 3.


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San Jose
Alexey   San Jose
thanks for description of the route- it save me the trip there. From the bottom it looks like stelor climb, and I was planning to do it one of the days, - not anymore Oct 23, 2012